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Title: Controlling the electrospinning of nanofibrous polymer scaffolds for neuronal tissue engineering
Author: Cirstea, Teodor-Matei
ISNI:       0000 0004 6499 5297
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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The use of nanofibrous scaffolds for tissue engineering applications is emerging as an important area of research in the field of regenerative medicine. Due to their close morphological similarity to the extracellular matrix (ECM) these types of scaffolds could be ideal candidates for synthetic, ECM-like substitutes. The main aim of this thesis is to understand and tailor the physical and morphological properties of nanofibrous scaffolds through control of the processing conditions and the incorporation of multi-walled carbon nanotubes and finally their application as substrates for neuronal cell growth. Nanofibrous scaffolds from polycaprolactone, poly(methyl methacrylate) and gelatin were produced using a self-made electrospinning kit. Advanced experimental design was employed to understand the impact of the processing parameters on the morphology of these scaffolds. The crystalline structure of polycaprolactone scaffolds was measured as a function of the fibre morphology and the processing conditions. It was found that the mechanical properties were strongly dependant on both of these factors which allows for the production of scaffolds with similar fibre structures but markedly different mechanical properties. Carbon nanotubes were successfully incorporated into polycaprolactone and gelatin nanofibres to form composite scaffolds. The targeted functionalization – polycaprolactone was chemically grafted onto carbon nanotubes to macht the polycaprolactone matrix – of carbon nanotubes to the polymer matrix was found to be superior to a more common approach to nanotube functionalization in its reinforcement properties on the electrospun scaffolds. Finally the performance of polycaprolactone scaffolds with bespoke fibre morphologies and different levels of carbon nanotube reinforcements as substrates for human neuronal cell growth was explored in a pilot study. Initial results indicate that the addition of carbon nanotubes greatly enhance neuronal cell growth on scaffolds as determined by an increased cell proliferation and neuronal cell cell differentiation.
Supervisor: Dobson, Pete ; Watt, Andrew Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available